Whether you love cooking or loathe every minute you have to spend in a kitchen, listening to a good food-themed audiobook can go a long way towards adding a little zest to your dinner routine. With your hands busy stirring, chopping, seasoning, and (just admit it) snacking, audiobooks are the perfect way to indulge your reading and cooking addictions at the same time. Plus, listening to the right audiobook will keep you from dying of boredom while you stare at your oven or bursting a blood vessel as you sprint around the kitchen trying to keep the chicken from going dry and the veggies from getting soggy and the gravy from getting lumpy!
With a good chef’s memoir livening your ears, all that rushing around will make you feel like a glamorous celebrity chef prepping dinner for a gala with the Obamas. A soothing book about farm life paired with the fresh veggies you just hauled from the farmer’s market will give you a bit more respect for the dirt you have to painstakingly dig out of the nooks and crannies of those leeks. A good novel with sumptuous descriptions of delicious food will make sure your appetite survives all the snacking. So press play and get cooking with some of these delicious audiobooks to listen to while cooking:
1. Cooked by Michael Pollan
This book will make even the mundane aspects of cooking, like watching water boil, seem like pure magic... which, in a way, it really is. With tons of info on the history, chemistry, and small miracles of cooking, this book makes for a great listen on days when you need a little extra motivation to fire up the oven.
2. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp
Some days, it’s a whole lot easier to just pop a frozen meal in the microwave. It’s certainly easier than dragging yourself to a local farmer’s market to load up on veggies you actually have to cut, prepare, and cook. But making an effort to eat and cook local, fresh food isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the environment, the local economy, and, as you'll learn from this book, it’s good for the soul.
3. Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
They say love is the secret ingredient, right? Well, Like Water For Chocolate has got a beautiful love story and plenty of delicious-sounding recipes cooked by Tita, who quite literally pours her emotions into her culinary creations.
4. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
This chef’s memoir takes you from a childhood farm to the unglamorous kitchens of New York restaurants to Europe and finally to the author’s own dream restaurant. Through it all is a joyful love for food that will bring a smile to your face as you prepare your meal.
5. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Maybe you’re new to cooking or maybe you just feel like you’d be a lost cause in the kitchen. Well, rest assured, it’s a rare soul who’s just born with good cuisine genes. For most, it takes a lot of practice. This hilarious little book will help you laugh through the missteps as you learn to become competent in the kitchen.
6. The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
Food is more of a backdrop to the more salient aspects of this story, which makes sense as it is told from the perspective of the Vietnamese cook hired by Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein during their time hosting the famous literary figures and artists of 1930s and '40s Paris. Binh's perspective offers a vastly different look at the literary Paris of our imaginations. Great authors and great food? What could be a better listen for a book nerd in the kitchen?
7. The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
There’s something soothing and liberating about farm life. It’s hard, dirty work, but it’s also serene and honest. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and do the back-breaking work yourself. Just give The Dirty Life a listen as you wash the dirt off your veggies.
8. Salt by Mark Kurlansky
So, salt is weird. We sprinkle it on all our favorite dishes, but, when you really think about it, it’s essentially a rock… that we grind up and put in our food. But that’s not even close to the most interesting thing about it. Throughout history, salt has been used for so many different things, including currency in some places. And once you get into the economics, biology, and even literature of human history, it turns out those tasty little granules show up everywhere. And they tell a pretty interesting story.
9. The Taste of Conquest by Michael Krondl
Speaking of your spice cabinet… It’s full of history. It’s also full of power struggles, conquests, and outright murder. Spices have played a crucial, interesting, and sometimes really depressing role in global history, and this book offers a peek at this rich and complicated story. At the very least, it’ll make you understand why that tiny jar of cardamom breaks your grocery shopping budget.
10. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This is the book to listen to while you’re cluttering your kitchen with dishes for a potluck or a dinner party or while your friend and family are chatting away in the living room waiting for dinner. As you listen to the dramas, histories, and warm-fuzzies of the Joy Luck families that play out over meals, it’ll remind you to appreciate these times when you all get together (baggage and all) for a good meal.
11. Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
Warning: the enchanting descriptions of food will probably make you want to throw out whatever you’re in the middle of cooking and hunt down some of these tasty sounding recipes. Aside from that, it’s a brilliant novel of love and Arab-American life that any food-loving bibliophile will love.